Feast of Fools

From New York Carver: Feast of Fools.

Perhaps a medieval Christmas was more serious than the commercial celebration many of us have come to know.

However, a medieval New Year’s Day was the one time of year EVERYBODY jumped at the chance to let loose at the medieval Feast of Fools celebration.

The celebrations usually began on the first of the year, every year until the 16th century — when the party was finally called off forever…

Well, almost.

Its origins could be traced back to pre-Christian Rome and the harvest festival honoring the harvest god Saturn.

During the Roman Saturnalia all class distinctions were abolished, with slaves and their masters switching roles, and laws that normally governed sensible behavior virtually suspended.

In medieval times, most Europeans adopted the Roman taste for a good time by electing a Lord of Misrule, or King of Fools. This harlequin king went by many names: King of the Bean in England, the Abbot of Unreason in Scotland, the Abbe de la Malgouveme in France. All had the power to call people to disorder. [continue]